BRUSSELS — The European Union's effort to crack down on illegal and harmful digital content in the bloc is about to take off.
As soon as Friday, a total of 19 very large online platforms and search engines — called VLOPs — visited by more than 45 million Europeans every month will have to comply with the EU’s online content rulebook adopted in 2022, the Digital Services Act (DSA).
Social media platforms in the crosshairs include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Online marketplaces Amazon, Booking, AliExpress, Zalando, Google Shopping, as well as Wikipedia and Google Maps, will also face the new regulatory music. The new rules will also apply to Google and Apple’s app stores, and to Google Search and Microsoft's Bing.
Companies will have to swiftly take down illegal content, like photos of child sexual abuse, as well as assess and propose concrete measures to counter major risks their platforms pose for society, including the spread of disinformation and cyberbullying. They will have also to be more transparent about how they function.
The European Commission will be able to issue fines of up to 6 percent of a company's annual global revenue. It could also temporarily ban a tech company from operating within the bloc under exceptional cases of serious non-compliance. Brussels will be supported by national watchdogs in countries where companies have their European headquarters, including Ireland.
The very large online platforms and search engines will also have to pay a fee of up to 0.05 percent of their global revenues to fund the Commission’s enforcement work. (...)